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Archive for Environment and Health Community

Letting Climate Change Break Our Hearts

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

We know about climate change. Apart from those imprisoned in a fortress of science denial, 69% of Americans give credence to the 95% of climate scientists who agree on the reality and trajectory of climate change and its man-made contributors. Read More→

Lautenberg’s Legacy and the Chemical Regs He Championed

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

When Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) died Monday morning at age 89, the Senate lost its oldest member, (he was also the last WWII veteran), and proponents of toxic chemical safety, gun safety, and other protections lost a champion. His most enduring legacy should have been the passage of the Safe Chemicals Act he first introduced in 2010.

But due to pressure and lobbying by the chemical industry, the original version of the bill never made it to the Senate floor for a vote despite Lautenberg’s committed work (in alliance with a coalition of environment groups) to get a vote on it every year from 2010 to 2012. The American Chemistry Council opposed the bill, and via lobbyists, campaign contributions, and paid advertising for select candidates stalled forward momentum.
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Why Safe Regulation of Fracking is a Fiction

Monday, February 18th, 2013

A New York State commissioned Health Review is central to the debate over whether fracking can be done safely in New York. The long awaited release of the Review findings, commissioned in September by the state Department of Health (DOH) at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s behest, will inform the Governor’s impending decision about whether or not to go forward with proposed fracking guidelines, the prelude to permits to frack New York State.

Listen to Fracking: NY Reprieve for Health with Larysa Dyrszka MD and Roger Downs of the Sierra Club on Connect the Dots on the Progressive Radio Network.

The the perennial promises of safer regulations fail to account for fracking as the next in an ever-growing and ever more toxic series of health-damaging industrial outputs that people inhale, eat, or absorb into their skin, guts, and brains. When industry has blocked the EPA from studying or regulating 70,000 chemicals, (from BPA and flame retardants to potent neurotoxins), since 1975, why would regulating fracking be possible? Read More→

Why 911 Survivors Fear Next Explosion

Friday, January 18th, 2013

When some 9/11 responders–many with health issues from that crisis–sought to regain their health, many settled in the small town of “Guns and Hoses,” the nickname of Minisink, N.Y. The many police and firemen who live there (in keeping with residency parameters imposed on NYC emergency service employees) never could have foreseen that within a few years, Minisink (located north of NYC) would become a high-risk zone for gas explosions and contamination, thanks to a plan to build a major compressor station for a gas pipeline–smack in the center of town.

Listen to Pramilla Malick of StopMCS and Tanyette Colon of MUST discuss Minisink on Connect the Dots on Progressive Radio.

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Which Politician Can Face Up to “Weather on Steroids?”

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

This week climate change went from political taboo to lead endorsement criteria for at least one elected official—New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg, who endorsed Barack Obama in a BloombergView entitled “A Vote for a President to Lead on Climate Change.”

Listen to Jason Kowalski, Policy Director of 350.org on Connect the Dots on Progressive Radio

In his editorial, Bloomberg wrote that, “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.” Read More→

Now that the Senate turned thumbs down on the Keystone XL Pipeline, it’s time to celebrate a big win for the environment. It was just last fall that Bil MCKibben warned that, “It’s game over for slowing climate change, if we proceed with the Tar Sands XL Keystone Pipeline.” So says Bill McKibben of 350.org quoting NASA scientist James Hansen. Back in November,  McKibben invited people  to join him at the White House for the Tar Sands action, calling it “the flashpoint for environmental protection.”
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Oh, No! GMOs? What the Heck Are You Eating?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Back when President Obama was a Senator, he promised to label GMO foods, to support the consumer right to know “where their food comes from. Americans should know what they are buying,” he said  (see video here.) But despite these promises, it hasn’t happened. Family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations filed suit against Monsanto in New York court over six months ago, but still no action from the President. According to the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) which filed on their behalf, the plaintiffs were forced to sue preemptively to protect themselves from future accusations of patent infringement when Monsanto’s genetically modified seed contaminates their crops, something which cannot be prevented once GM seeds are released. Read More→

Hurricanes, Floods, and Climate Change: How Can Farms Survive?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Even without grokking the science of climate change, it’s obvious that novel weather events have increased around the country and the world. Thanks to Hurricanes Irene and Lee, at summer’s end, torrential rains swept the Northeast region, flooding the areas where New York’s food comes from. In these upstate regions in Ulster, Sullivan, and Delaware counties, there’s a new breed of organic and sustainable farming. But will those farmers, their farms, and their food survive changing weather patterns to continue to grow and supply the foods health and environmentally conscious people prefer to eat? Read More→

New York’s Governor Cuomo issued his plan to fracking New York. Politicans cutting deals with powerful multinational companies wishfully believe that you can tell contaminated water to stay put in one place. They believe that if they prohibit fracking in the area surrounding the upstate NYC water reservoir, NYC’s water will be safe. Too bad water and air currents don’t stay within the electoral districts that politicians are accustomed to compromising about. Join the Sierra Club and take action here.

A newly discovered pathogen, visible only under an electron microscope, is destroying plants and undermining the health of livestock, thereby posing a deadly risk to the U.S. food supply, a senior plant pathologist warned USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. In a January 2010 letter to Vilsack, (a former Iowa governor and agribusiness champion, appointed by President Obama), Dr. Don Huber advised caution in introducing additional GMO crops. But just weeks later, the USDA approved expansion of GMO crops to include alfalfa, the most widespread animal feed crop. Read More→